Back to work

Since something did not sit so well with my stomach on Tuesday, Wednesday became a lay-in-bed-for-most-of-the-day-even-though-you-would-much-rather-be-doing-other-things day off work. I chatted with a friend online, started a new book, listened to music, ate very small portions and enjoyed many cups of herbal tea. All is well now.

I insisted on going to my second orchestra rehearsal with the awesome people I met at Monday’s rehearsal. We were short by two university students who have night classes on Wednesdays, but it was reassuring to have our maestro take a seat like the rest of us and fill in for one of the missing 2nd violins. I was sure to get lots of puppy love from the maestro‘s dog Harry. Between that and medicine in the form of music, I felt 110% better when I returned home.

Yesterday the Internet was not working AT ALL at the Centro Esperanza (CE) office. I witnessed a very head-strong female colleague explaining to a customer service representative of the internet service provider the definition of providing a service and what customer service is (supposed to be) all about. (Oh yes, she did). The sporadic Internet connection over the past month has been driving the CE staff and volunteers crazy and making our jobs challenging. Result: the office Internet was working today.

I attended a session with kids yesterday which involved a dance class followed by a music (zampoña, pan flute) class. It was a lot of fun to dance to Peruvian music, even if only for a few songs, as a break from analyzing the stereotypical gender norms and inequalities in ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Cinderella’. I have been tasked with ‘re-writing’ the stories (while trying to keep to the story line) to make them more inclusive and respectful of the female gender. I’ll present my analysis of the stories and my ‘new versions’ at a workshop next Friday for the women ‘promoters’ who work to offer sessions with children at the 11 different CE program sites. The theme for August is the promotion of reading. Naturally CE wants the promoters to be able to highlight the importance of the ability for parents, especially mothers, to be able to analyze a story’s text themselves. choosing stories which promote equality and the development of healthy ‘autoestima‘ (self-esteem).

Back to yesterday afternoon, in which the zampoña class is always my favourite part. I am still learning to get a good quality sound out of the instrument and I really should do what I tell the kids to do: practice everyday! However, even more satisfying than having the kids or myself playing a passage correctly is having the kids play in unison, in time. Curious about what song we are learning? Here is a performance of Llorando se fue” (Crying, she left) by Los Kjarkas, one of the most popular Andean folk music bands in Bolivian history. Peru and Bolivia share the southern part of the Andean mountain range and are both home to the Quechua and Aymara indigenous peoples who share many cultural and linguistic traditions, such as the use of the zampoña, made of round wooden ‘pipes’ cut to precise lengths. 

This is what a zampoña looked like in the eyes of the young artists in the La Ladrillera last Saturday. I divided the kids into four groups, each tasked with drawing a different item from observation and then filling in the extra space with drawings from their imagination; someone is holding the group object in each photo.

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I am stoked to head back for drawing class number two tomorrow afternoon, but it is time to put the finishing touches on my the materials for the youth group I have yet to guide tonight…¡feliz fin de semana! (happy weekend!)

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